Where to find good traditional music?

Nov 5th, 2004, 01:51 PM
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Where to find good traditional music?

We plan to spend 10 days in the southwest/west in early May. Is Doolin a good place to hear traditional music or someplace else? Thanks.
carolsc is offline  
Nov 5th, 2004, 02:32 PM
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It wouuld help to know what country.
Underhill is offline  
Nov 5th, 2004, 02:48 PM
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cmt is offline  
Nov 5th, 2004, 02:59 PM
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Doolin's claim to have the best Trad in the country has faded somewhat, but it is still pretty good. We were there 3 weeks ago and visited all three pubs in one night. Gus O'Connors seemed to have the best session going, but only 3 of the musicians were Irish locals. The accordian came from France, the Bodhran was German, and I cannot recall where the other was from. The music was great, though! There are a few hostels in Doolin that attract the younger set, and evidently Irish Trad has become somewhat of a Euro phenomenon.

We also found plenty of good trad in Galway, and there are certainly a lot more activities to choose from. By the time May hits, most locations will be gearing up for the summer season and you should be able to find decent sessions throughout. If you are up for the trip, Matt Malloys (from the Chieftains) is right downtown in Westport and has sessions every night. The town is gorgeous.
Steeleyes is offline  
Nov 5th, 2004, 03:38 PM
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Doolin as fine but it is true that things have changed over the years. I have a friend who is a musician from Ireland and I also got to have dinner with a music promoter in Dublin once and they both stated that a good number of the best Irish musicians moved to the states because they could make a better living here. That seems amazing to me, because as a musician, it's hard to make a living in this country also. The pubs in Doolin fill up quickly and if you want to hear the musicians you need to get there pretty early and then hang around until the music starts. The noise level from the crowd drowns out the musicians from not to far away.

One of the effects of the smoking ban has been a loss of business and thus, the first thing to go in pubs was the music. Whatever the musicians were making before, many aren't getting now so music has cut back some.

Ennis has some good trad from what I know and Nedsireland will know thius better, but I think Cruise's pub is the place there. There are a couple of places, as steeleyes mentioned in Galway on the pedestrian mall and they do an early and a late set in a couple of those.

You will sometimes here a combination of styles that will bring a bit of trad, a few pub ballads and some good ol' country western. For whatever reason, Neil Diamond is a popular favorite in Ireland and Sweet Caroline is a big hit among crooners there. We found a night like that in Kinsale. It was fun, but I wouldn't call it trad.

There are a number of places that have "Irish nights" in Killarney, mainly set up for tourists. If you stay near Killarney, ask the owner if there is a place that is not a well know tourist hangout. It will probably be a bit more fun. There are also Irish nights in Bunratty.

Have fun!

wojazz3 is offline  
Nov 7th, 2004, 10:46 AM
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Trad is usually available almost everywhere. Doolin, Matt Malloy's are good choices. There are many other venues as well. The Lobby Bar, in Cork City has Trad every afternoon, but also offers contemporary Irish Folk/Rock at night. DeBarra's, in Clonakilty and The Granary in Killarney and They Quay Pub in Galway City are other good choices. There is also a pretty good Festival in Brandon, Co. Cork which is usually held in May.
Itallian_Chauffer is offline  
Nov 7th, 2004, 03:04 PM
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Thank you all for your comments. Much appreciated. There appears to be a lot of good and useful information within this forum in general. Thanks to those who take the time and interest in helping the rest of us!
carolsc is offline  
Nov 9th, 2004, 11:49 AM
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My husband and i spent two weeks in Ireland last year and Doolin was by far our favorite place. The music in the pubs are supberb. Skip Gus O'Connors, that's basically just for the tourists. If you're like my husband andi we'd rather spend time hanging out with the locals. In Doolin, that's exactly what you're going to find. There's a great little music store in town as well. We bought a CD there and enjoy it all the time. The white haired man there is excellent. He'll help you with everything, you can even enjoy a cup of tea as you browse the shelves. This is a DO NOT MISS stop during your trip. We liked it so much we ended up there for 3 nights. Enjoy!
twm is offline  
Nov 9th, 2004, 11:54 AM
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I guess Doolin Banjos would not be considered traditional.
maitaitom is offline  
Nov 9th, 2004, 01:23 PM
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Well, all of the pubs in Doolin will have tourists as it is a very small town with an enormous number of tourists, especially in the summer. If they have music, there will be tourists. If you want to talk to the locals, that's a different pub and probably a different town. If you want to hear music (as opposed to just sitting in a pub that has it), as I said before, you need to be near the musicians. A lot of people will say they heard great music in Doolin, but the pubs are very noisy during the shoulder and high season. I sat near the band during the off season at Gus O'Connor's and had a great chat with the guys at musicians at the break. They thanked us for actually listening and we talked about the state of traditional music in Ireland. They were good players and yes, they were locals. Don't write a place off because there are tourists there, you just have to come prepared.

wojazz3 is offline  
Nov 9th, 2004, 03:54 PM
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Underhill: do you REALLY THINK any other country BUT Ireland would allow a place named "Doolin"???? <G>
TopMan is offline  
Nov 9th, 2004, 04:15 PM
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good point topman
wojazz3 is offline  
Nov 9th, 2004, 10:41 PM
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Doolin means "black lake" in Irish. Note the close association with Dublin meaning "black pool". There are many placenames in Ireland that seem funny or strange until you know their origins. BTW, the black lake no longer exists but was on the land where O'Connor's Farm guest house is now.
IrishEyes is offline  
Nov 13th, 2004, 07:41 AM
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Our family visited Ireland this past March and went to CRUISES PUB in Ennis. We enjoyed a great afternoon (weather was cold & blustery)sitting in front of a peat fire, drinking guinness and tea while listening to a "drop-in" session of traditional music. At one point there were about 12 musicians playing.
MWM1 is offline  
Nov 13th, 2004, 08:45 AM
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Cannot recommend Doolin for GOOD trad music anymore .....
Last time was in Doolin i was appalled the mediocre offerings.
Was told by a musician living near Doolin that Ennistymon can be a good alternative but can't remember the name of the pub sorry.
Galway is probably your best bet.
If you're passing thru Dublin on a sunday evening try Gub Dandy's in Terenure - now there you'll find great traditional irish music and plenty of locals. call first though, i think once a month they substitute trad for a coupla guitarists.
leisa is offline  
Nov 13th, 2004, 06:56 PM
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In Ennis we heard great music at Brogan's, just up the street from Cruise's -- plus somehow that night we ended up getting a lot of free food.
peregryn is offline  
Nov 14th, 2004, 05:37 AM
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peregryn writes: "In Ennis we heard great music at Brogan's, just up the street from Cruise's -- plus somehow that night we ended up getting a lot of free food." Maybe they thought you were with the musicians?
Brogan's is on O'Connell Street: From Cruise's it's up Abbey Street to the Monument, then down O'Connell Street (about 25m) on the left. If there's nothing happening there, continue another 50m to the Poet's Corner at the Old Ground Hotel.
When I was there for the Spring Music Festival in May, 2003, almost all the Old Ground's 'wait-staff' people were headed to the Jersey shore or DelMarVa peninsular resorts for the Summer.

carolsc: Ennis' Spring Music Festival is the last week in May but there will be some musicians 'drifting in' by mid-month. Try Cruise's any Sunday afternoon for impromptu sessions.

Taaffes in Galway often has scheduled Saturday afternoon sessions; so does the pub just across the pedestrian walkway: I don't know if they start as early as mid-May.

NEDSIRELAND is offline  
Nov 14th, 2004, 02:06 PM
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We were in Doolin in October. The music was heaven! Dingle was also just a wonderful place to feel the Irish music.
adamsparks is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2004, 02:15 PM
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We were in Ireland in early October and heard traditional music of some kind every night we were there. Some sessions were better than others - at that time of year we were able to pub-hop and get fairly close to the musicians in most cases. We loved Doolin and would definitely recommend going there. It's also very scenic with the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren close by. Otherwise, you can probably find music anywhere you go. We asked at our hotels/B&B's and music stores and had great luck. (By the way, the other towns we visited were Ennis, Cork, Dublin, Dingle, and Killarney. We actually didn't see a session in Killarney but were in a pub where a wedding reception was being held, and the wedding guests traded Irish ballads into the wee hours.)
robinja is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2004, 04:19 PM
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Was in Ireland this past sept/Oct stayed at churchfield b&b in Doolin which is right across road from Mcdermonts - didn't care for Mcgahn's as they were a little surly so didn't stay for the music (will try again next time as it was probably just the peron on duty that night) O'conner was ok but too big for me - mostly locals at McDermonts and that was my favorite place. Decent music but the best music we had on the trip of a little over three weeks was at galway.
lizard is offline  

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